Move over Chris Hadfield, there is a new astronaut tweeting otherworldly photographs of Earth.
These marvelous images of our planet – taken from onboard the International Space Station in the last month – were shot by German-born, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.
Aurora australis – Astronaut moves towards the (southern) light
“Yesterday we actually flew through this Aurora. It almost blew my mind,” tweeted Gerst on Tuesday [July 8] to accompany this awe-inspiring photograph.
The image features the aurora australis (“Southern Lights”), the natural light display that appears in the southern hemisphere’s sky when solar wind crashes into charged particles from the magnetic Antarctic pole. Its northern counterpart, the aurora borealis (“Northern Lights”), involves particle collisions at the Arctic pole.
North Africa. This amazing desert photograph is right up our valley
The 38-year-old astronaut described this over social media as “Harsh land. Windswept valleys in northern Africa”.
Gerst, a trained geophysicist, will spend six months on the ISS for the Blue Dot mission, an “extensive scientific programme [on] physical science and human physiology.”
Japan. Gerst has got one eye on the typhoon down below
Scary. The sunlight is far from reaching down the abyss of Neoguri’s 65 km-wide eye,” Gerst tweeted on Japan’s super typhoon Neoguri.
Ukraine. Leap for joy at the stunning sight of the “frog lake”
“Cosmonauts call this the “frog lake,” said Gerst. In truth, it’s Krasnopavlivka reservoir in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.
Algeria. Seen through a clouded lens
Gerst tweeted: “When I took this photo, I was sure these are clouds. But now I’m not so sure…” They are in fact star dune formations in the Algerian Sahara desert, shot at low light.
New Mexico. Wood you believe it’s water?
These bizarre shapes look like “stacks of wood”, according to Gerst. But they are irrigation systems in the arid U.S. state of New Mexico.
Follow Gerst on Twitter: @Astro_Alex